The Halifax Black Film Festival makes its triumphant return this weekend, closing out African Heritage Month with a slew of online screenings and panel discussions. We watched all the available trailers on the event’s site—36 of ‘em—to pick out some of the must-see shows in the festival’s whopping 63-title slate, a mix of feature-length flicks and several collections of short films. Available to stream throughout the fest’s duration while you shelter in place (either due to COVID or today’s snow storm, take your pick), you can watch every movie below (and the other dozens of diverse movies on offer!) through the fest’s website. Individual screenings are $9-$15 while a full-fest pass is $45.
Here’s what we’re busting out the popcorn for first:
The White Line
You might think you’re tired of stories about star-crossed lovers, but The White Line is here to remind you why this is a well that never runs dry: Set in 1963 in south west Africa, a white cop and Black maid fall for each other over the backdrop of Apartheid in present-day Namibia.
The Ants and the Grasshopper
Americans have grown numb to climate change, but Anita Chitaya—a Malawi villager who is watching her environment change in real time—is on a mission to make them wake up. This documentary feature sees Chitaya travel from Malawi to the United States to persuade everyday farmers and policy makers alike that we’re all in this together.
Maya & Her Lover
Fans of How Stella Got Her Groove Back and the Lena Waithe-produced The Forty Year Old Version will love this flick, which sees Maya overcome a complicated past as she starts a steamy fling with a much younger man.
This short flick gives off serious early 2000s music video vibes as it traces the ups and downs of an aspiring model’s journey. Part of a screening of eight short films that’s available to watch as a package all festival long.
I Hate You
Halifax multi hyphenate talent Koumbie co-created and co-stars in this short flick that sees a couple dealing with a rejection pre-coffee (her IRL partner Taylor Olsen, of Bone Cage fame, plays her on-screen other half). Part of a screening of seven short films available all fest long.
Kill Your Masters
Israel Ekanem, a staple of the indie filmmaking scene in Halifax (and possible one of its most prolific members, cranking out 13 films over four years), shows this short at HBFF, which was inspired by Killer Mike’s 2020 speech in Atlanta in the face of George Floyd’s murder. The result? A gut-punching, Toni Morrison-feeling short that sees two Black women slaves decide to take their fate into their own hands and kill their masters. Part of a screening of six shorts.
This Brazilian flick presents a densely-created world in its tight 23-minute runtime: A dystopian dictatorship in the future forbids people from having children—but they are allowed to adopt through a state-run system that divides families based on class. When a hotel maid and baker decide to adopt a daughter, their struggle to pick a perfect name underscores the patriarchal oppressions of today’s Brazil. Part of a collection of shorts.
Fans of the Netflix smash hit Lupin will be living for this slick thriller, which sees a famous actor receiving an anonymous email from someone threatening to expose compromising footage of him. Let the cat and mouse chase begin!